A Chef’s Work at Redefine Meat
A new wave of chefs is helping us rethink our relationship with traditional meat and use plant-based ingredients to create a culinary experience that is second to none. Today we bring an interview with Chef Daniel Cheetham, UK culinary lead at Redefine Meat. Daniel brings his vast experience in foodservice into active product development, and helps prospects and customers in their journey to revolutionize their menu with Redefine Meat.
About a Chef’s work at Redefine Meat
Why did you choose to join Redefine Meat?
I worked most of the last decade in food and beverage innovation. Even before that, I helped set up, ran and owned numerous businesses in the food industry. So when the opportunity to join Redefine Meat appeared, it was a great way of putting experience to good use, and push the boundaries of what is possible while staying not only at the forefront of the plant-based category, but of the culinary sector as a whole.
What is it like to work as a chef for Redefine in England? What does the work entail?
My days are mostly split between working on new dishes and innovations with current and future products in the Redefine Meat range and working with clients directly or showcasing them at events and trade shows. This is a good mix that brings diversity to my days, especially since we work with an amazing team who keep pushing the limits, and even in high-pressure situations, always shows their sense of humour.
What are you most proud of from your work at Redefine Meat?
One of the most satisfying things about working at Redefine Meat is that things can move quickly, and that we are encouraged to take initiative. For example, I came up with the idea of targeting food innovation agencies and prepared meal businesses in the UK. This led to a demo with Prep Kitchen – where I just went ahead and recreated all of the dishes they had on their website. It was a bit of a gamble, but they loved it. It was also a great way to help them introduce new-meat into their menu – a 1:1 swap is always the easiest to implement!
Also, I love the fact that the range of new-meat products makes it easy to replace traditional meat for a variety of cuisines. For example, you can use Redefine Beef or Lamb Kofta Mix Mince, or Redefine Flank and Redefine Pulled Pork to make a variety of popular Italian or Asian dishes.
Cooking With New-Meat
Is there a dish you grow up loving that you now make with Redefine Meat?
The first dish that comes to mind is one that I loved as a kid: Shepherd’s Pie. I have to say that our Redefine Meat Kabab Mix is truly amazing and even the harshest critics find it hard to believe that it’s not actual lamb meat. I like to make a recipe of Shepherd’s Pie just like the one I ate growing up, and this is one deceivingly simple recipe that is still packed with flavour, topped with creamy mash, baked until bubbling and crispy on top—truly delicious!
Also, I have always loved steaks and other whole cuts of meat. One of my favourite recipes is brined steak, which is very versatile. This brine can be used on almost any kind of cut of meat but works especially well with the Redefine Meat Flank.
Did you always know you wanted to be a chef?
Food is a big thing in my family and has always brought everyone together and been a team effort, so I suppose cooking has been a theme in my life since I could hold a wooden spoon. For example, I have a banana bread recipe that I made in school when I was five, and to this day, I have the original recipe as I wrote it out, including a cartoon drawing of a banana man with bulging muscles. Believe it or not, I still use this recipe!
As a teenager, I got into cooking to make pocket money. I was the kitchen porter at a local brasserie and used to have to grate kilo blocks of blue cheese—which I admit I hated at the time. I continued to work in kitchen throughout my education but was eventually, became torn between pursuing a career as a photographer or one as a chef. I guess my taste buds are better than my eyesight.
What are you still looking forward to the most?
It’s the innovation for me. I love seeing the new products that come to the market and especially the ones developing our portfolio of new-meat, delivering a full range of products without the use of animal based ingredients. Product development and innovation has been my job for over a decade now and creating new recipes or processes to get the best from our products is hugely satisfying. Getting the perfect crust on our burgers by using a cloche, reducing the water content in our Pulled Meat and rehydrating it with a sauce, or bringing our flank to make it taste and behave even more like traditional meat. It’s all great fun.
To learn more about the mission of chefs at Redefine Meat, see this interview with culinary chef Omer Tal